Florida Panthers drop third straight, lose to the Capitals 4-2

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 25: Michael Matheson
SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 25: Michael Matheson /

After dropping their last two games on the road, the Florida Panthers were heading back home to face the mighty Washington Capitals.

After James Reimer went down with an injury on Tuesday night against the Stars, Harri Sateri was called upon to fill in between the pipes. Meanwhile, for the Caps, their usual starter (Braden Holtby) would start to lead his club. Only one net minder would finish victorious in this matchup tonight, but who would it be?

The Panthers started the game off well, pouring pressure down deep in the Capitals’ zone. You’d expect the explosive Capitals to come out with that energy, but they didn’t. The Cats capitalized on Washington’s weak play for the time being, creating scoring chances out of it.

Florida’s strong play led to a power play early on, when Aaron Ekblad was held by Brooks Orpik. As usual, the Cats set up nicely in Washington’s zone, but couldn’t grab a goal at the end of it. Seconds after Orpik’s penalty expired and the Capitals were called once again.

Lars Eller was the culprit this time, being whistled for a delay of game call. Like the first man advantage, the Panthers were able to set up quickly once again, but weren’t able to finish. Lots of passing was happening, but not enough shooting.

About three minutes later and the nation’s capital was called once again. Madison Bowey was called for a slash on Jonathan Huberdeau, sending Florida to their third man advantage. But like the last two, the Panthers failed to cash in, going 0/3 on special teams.

Minutes after the third frustrating power play for the Cats, and

Denis Malgin

managed to break the deadlock. After receiving a pass from

Jared McCann

, Denis Malgin walked in and sniped a shot short side on Holtby:

With just under five minutes left in the first, and MacKenzie Weegar was called for a hold on Alex Chiasson. The Cats did their best to kill off the penalty, but Washington’s power play unit was just too strong, setting up Nicklas Backstrom for the goal.

The Panthers would head to the locker room shortly afterwards, ending the period with a score line of 1-1. The first frame was evenly played by both sides, with a tie being a fair result for both teams after one.

Like the first period, Denis Malgin managed to regain the Panthers lead during the opening six minutes of the frame, grabbing his first multi-goal game of his career. After receiving a pass from Huberdeau in the slot, Malgin snapped a shot off the post and in, giving his side the lead once more:

But the Panthers’ lead didn’t last long, as Alex Ovechkin tipped home a shot from Orpik at the point, to tie the game at two. From there, the Cats began to crumble in their play, giving the Caps all sorts of chances in their own zone.

Harri Sateri managed to stand up his head for the time being, but only he could resist for so long. John Carlson added a third for his team, giving Washington their first lead of the game. Aaron Ekblad was caught puck watching when Tom Wilson sent a quick pass to Carlson’s way, where John sniped a shot top corner.

Before the period ended, Aaron Ekblad tripped up Evgeny Kuznetsov, giving the Capitals a power play to being the third period. Both teams would head into the locker room, with the Capitals leading after two periods of play (3-2).

With seconds remaining in the Ekblad penalty, Brett Connolly managed to double Washington’s lead. Coming off a cross-crease pass from Andre Burakovsky, Connolly one-timed a shot over Sateri’s blocker and in.

The Capitals would dominate the rest of the third, gaining multiple power plays off of unnecessary penalties taken by Florida. In the end, the dominant team won, and the Caps would go on to win by a score line of 4-2.

Next: Analyzing the impact of Evgeni Dadonov

All in all, the Panthers played well in the first, as well as parts of the second, but crumbled late in the second and early in the third. In order to beat team’s like Washington, one has to play a consistently solid game for 60 minutes, not 25. Your Florida Panthers are back in action on Tuesday, January 30th (after the All-Star break) against the New York Islanders, @7:00pm.